Hi. My name’s Michael and I’m probably dead.
I am perhaps alive. I was when I wrote this, after all, and, though I did not know the hour of my demise at the time I wrote this, I hoped then that it was far removed from the writing of this. Perhaps it was. But that is, as they say, neither here nor there.
The facts are these: I was alive and the vast majority of people who were once alive are now dead, so it stands to reason that I am probably dead. And, if you’ll permit me to make an assumption based on my understanding of the world as I experienced it, I assume that because you are reading these words, that means that you are probably alive.
If I am right, then this moment: this moment right now between you and me is special. After all, we are talking, in a way, as if I were alive. You may hear my voice (at least what your mind has reasoned is my voice) in your mind as though I am speaking directly to you, which I am. I, a person who has come and probably gone, am talking to you, a person who, has come and, to this point at least, remained. I am probably dead, yet very much alive because you are probably not dead and reading this.
I fear that perhaps I wasted this moment twice: once when I wrote it and now, as I defy normal expectations and communicate with you from “the great beyond.” I spent a portion of my measly allotment of life on this, this thing, and what is there to show of that expenditure? Am I losing you already? Have I blown this opportunity: this moment given to me to have my thoughts and words resurrected by your act of reading? I am sorry. Please, just a moment longer.
Okay. So, as you know, my name’s Michael. When I was alive, well, I did not write very often or very much. But I wrote this and, through luck or fate or whatever else, it found its way to you and you read it. You actually read it. Thank you. I know that I am just some disembodied voice to you, just as you are some disembodied eyes and ears to me, but I think that is what makes this moment so special: you and I communicate, each of us imaging the other. My voice is not my own. It’s one of yours; one that you imposed upon me without my having any say in the matter, perhaps even the voice that walks you through your innermost thoughts.
These words, then, come to you, not as I would have said them, not as I said them as I wrote them, but as you say them. My voice is yours now. But your voice – at least your inner voice – is mine. If I write, “I am the very model of a modern major general,” then you say it in your mind, even though you are probably not the very model of a modern major general.
What does all this have to do with flash fiction? I don’t know. Why do you ask? (See, got you.)
My time is running out, just as my time was running out when I wrote this (my wife needed the computer), so while I could go on trying to insert words into your head, I will not. Except this: I wrote this and you read it. For these few moments, though I was probably dead, I was communicating with you as effectively as I could have if I were alive, as you are. You too can write (not this, that’s plagiarism) and while I probably will not read it (seeing as I am probably dead), someone else might. And then your words, like mine, will live a little longer than your body did.
Bio: Michael Luketich lives in Florida, but calls Ohio home. A writer trapped in a lawyer’s body, his work has appeared in Versification and Imaginate. He is the author of multiple books, including Don’t Read This Book! and Lay Flat & Prosper.